Most of the great scientists and researchers have always known that thirst for knowledge and researching is contagious. Of course, we are far from being called scientists, but we are still very interested in getting knowledge. Even if it’s a recording studio equipment field. An attentive reader probably noticed the abundance of different kinds of scientific and educational materials that we have. In the near future there will be more, but today we have the material of a special kind – one of those “at the request of readers”. So, let us tell you about a USB microphone Blue Snowflake from the well-known brand Blue Microphones. So let’s start with specs, as usual.
Transducer Type: Condenser
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Bit Depth / Sample Rate: up to 16-bit / 44kHz
Frequency Response: 35Hz to 20kHz
Maximum SPL: 125dB
Power Options: Powered Through USB Cable
Package Bundle: Blue Snowflake Microphone with Laptop Clip, USB Cable, Manual
Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.4 x 2.5 inches (325mm circumference)
Weight: 460 grams (9.1 ounces)
Hands On and First Impression
Oh My God! How could I use this microphone!? I’ve never bothered if my microphone built in my laptop by an unknown engineer of Asus was good or bad. Now I feel fair resentment to this unknown mic.
– Well, he set me up badly. And for what reason does he hate me so much?
– We don’t even know each other!
It all started when we got our hands on a compact microphone from Blue Microphones, on the box of which there was a piece of information saying that it’s a professional microphone which can be used for internet telephony, conference calls, that you can easily record any voice program as well, for example, a podcast, an audiobook, or a new sound track for the video.
At first, the microphone Blue Snowflake doesn’t seem to be a serious equipment because it looks like a toy. Its box is quite simple; the colors are calm. There are no show-images or flashy labels. What’s inside the box? Only a microphone, a very small and simple booklet and a foam lining.
“Blue Snowflake” – I wonder who has called this microphone like that?
An answer to this question is quite simple. Entire range of USB microphones by Blue is anyway associated with the elements of nature or mythical creatures, which further is reflected directly in the design of devices, for example, the Blue Yeti microphone – the dimensions speak for themselves, while the Blue Snowball microphone is made in a perfect spherical shape and reminds you of a snowball (especially, one in white colors) and a compact USB microphone Blue Icicle reminds of an icicle.
Blue Snowflake Overall Build and Features
So, in the face of Blue Snowflake we have a somewhat condenser microphone that connects directly to the USB port of a computer. It’s claimed to be a “Plug and Play” device which doesn’t need special drivers downloaded from the CD disk and which is ready for work right after connection.
Inside a shiny mesh head of the microphone hides condenser capsule and a converter which provides with a quantization of analog signal in a digital one in a mode of 16-bit/44.1 kHz. So it’s easy to draw a conclusion that an output sound is of a normal resolution which is enough for internet telephony and recording routine.
The microphone consists of a base and movable microphone head. A user can adjust the angle of the head and rotate it 360 degrees. Head joints move elastically and nicely and fix well in a selected position. One should especially like the main movable connection which is well fixed too and, therefore, it moves smoothly. The base of the microphone is hollow; it has a split-design and consists of two parts. There is a hidden cable “USB — micro-USB” inside the base. In our case, it’s white and matches well with the microphone. A removable part of the base is made of white plastic. It’s needed if the microphone is used in desktop mode, and it should be removed if you want to attach the microphone on the top edge of the monitor. The fixed part is made of thick bent aluminum. The metal doesn’t scratch the laptop as there are pasted soft linings.
The microphone doesn’t seem fragile. A wind noise reducer is dual: an outer mesh layer is made of a thick wire, and the inner – of a thin one. A socket of a micro-USB is located in the back of the microphone head. The back of the head is solid, made of metal, painted white.
Connection and Setup
The test computer was a quiet, modest office Asus laptop with the Intel Core i3 processor and stock RAM to 4GB, running Windows 7 Home Edition. Most likely, this microphone is to connect to devices like that. The manufacturer of the microphone requires that the manufactured device was connected to computers that have RAM beyond 64 MB. The claimed compatibility is with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, XP Home Edition or XP Professional and Mac OSX. Compatible with USB 3.0 is not stated, but we have done it and everything works as it should.
So, the connection went without any problems. The drivers were found in the vaults of the operating system and set for 40 seconds, and the device was subsequently identified in the system under its name. The tests were performed in three programs: Skype, Audacity and Nero Wave Editor.
Test #1 – Skype
The first thing you need to do in Skype is to go to settings, click on the tab “Audio Settings” and choose external microphone instead of the built-in one in the laptop, and that should be the microphone Blue Snowflake. Needless to say, the microphone should be already connected to the USB port during setup. After clicking “Save”, you can start working with a new microphone.
As for the tests, I’ve done them easily: I called to the Sound Test Service and made two test recordings: with the native microphone and with the external one. In the first case, I got the recording, messed with extra noise, without the upper and lower frequencies. In the second case, a result made me pleased: the voice sounded natural, the speech had become much more understandable. Then I drew attention of independent experts: I called three friends. And then the same thing happened. “Disinterested citizens” said that they like my voice much more with the new microphone and that they had thought that I was lisping, and now with the filing of a Blue Snowflake I sound much more attractive.
So, as a replacement to the built-in laptop microphone, the Blue Snowflake is a very wealthy purchase. If you use internet telephony for business affairs, then this microphone will greatly improve the quality of communication. By the way, with the speakers at high volume, the feedback effect has never manifested itself. So I give a solid 5/5 to this microphone in the test #1.
Test #2 – Podcast
I haven’t used any professional programs for recording in this test because it doesn’t make much sense. I decided to limit myself with a free program Audacity and one of the applications of the Nero Suite – Wave Editor.
You have to choose the microphone manually in Audacity, but, in Wave Editor, an external microphone has automatically received priority to become the default microphone. With each program, I made test recordings: with built-in laptop microphone and the external one. The same mode of sample rate value which is listed in the microphone characteristics was set in the program settings. The record saved in .WAV format as a default one. Aurally, both programs have provided with a recording quality of comparable level. Differences haven’t been identified.
As for the quality, basically, the Blue Snowflake hasn’t disappointed. It confirmed that the built-in laptop microphone is not good. You can listen to a test recording pattern below in case to understand if this quality satisfies you. I like very much the sound that gives this microphone. The voice it transmits is detailed, without distortion, the intelligibility is excellent. There are less than desired low frequencies, a bit lack of volume and depth. But then again, this is a microphone that is more designed for voice communication over the Internet, so in this sense it’s very good. There is only one disadvantage: noise might have been a bit lower, but again we don’t speak about studio microphone, so let’s not quibble about that.
Here you can check out some audio examples of Blue Snowflake
+Bonus Comparison – Blue Snowflake vs Samson Go vs Blue Snowball vs Samson Meteor
In our comparison table below, you can see all the technical specifications of microphones and see the strengths and weaknesses of each.
|Blue Snowflake||Samson Go||Blue Snowball||Samson Meteor|
|Polar Pattern||Cardioid||Cardiod or Omnidirectional||Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Cardioid with -10dB pad||Cardioid|
|Frequency Response||35Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 18kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
|40Hz – 18 kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
|20Hz – 20kHz
Frequency Response on Scheme
|Bit Depth / Sample Rate||16bit / 44.1kHz||16bit / 44.1kHz||16bit / 44.1kHz||16bit / 44.1 – 48kHz|
|Pros||Good sound quality saturated with warmth
Tailored for speech, podcasting, skype and conference calls, voice-overs, capturing audio for youtube
Clip mount for your laptop or PC monitor
|Flat frequency response provides clear sound
Switchable polar patterns
3.5mm headphone jack for direct sound monitoring
Clip mount for your laptop or PC monitor
Package bundle includes carrying case
Outstanding design (looks like real snowball)
Available in six color schemes
Durability of construction
Switchable polar patterns
|Good sound quality
Outstanding design (3 color schemes available)
Chrome plated housing
Connection to any iOS device via USB Camera Adapter
3.5mm headphone jack for direct sound monitoring, also there is headphone volume knob on housing
Popular all over the world
Comes with carrying pouch
|Cons||Package bundle does not include carrying pouch for transporting||Housing does not seem too reliable||No cons||People who are professionally engaged in sound recording, do not appreciate sound quality of this mic|
|Check the Price|
By numerous request of our readers, in this review we will compare 4 microphone models: Blue Snowflake, Samson Go, Blue Snowball, Samson Meteor. Let’s start with a comparison of microphones Blue Snowflake vs Samson Go. Both mics are from the same niche and they are identical in overall build, without considering the housing design. We’ll start our comparison from looking at similar features: both microphones can be attached to the monitor of your laptop or to the monitor of your PC, connection to your PC / Laptop is carried via USB cable and does not require drivers to install (just Plug and Play), both microphones are easy to transport because of the small size, the type of mic capsules is condenser, bit depth / sample rate – 16-bit / 44kHz in both models. Now let’s talk about the differences and the benefits of each microphone, starting from their price. The cost of Blue Snowflake is more expensive at 13$ – 20$ than Samson Go. Also Samson Go has a number of advantages in functionality, for example: you can switch polar patterns of this mic – choosing between cardioid or omnidirectional polar patterns. Then Samson Go has a 3.5mm headphone jack, which allows you to monitor direct sound from the microphone. Another good advantage of Samson Go – it comes with a carrying case. Now we’ll turn to the Blue Snowflake microphone. Compared with a microphone of the brand Samson, Blue Snowflake seemed to us more stylish and sound character is “warmer” than in Samson Go (this “warm” sound quality is inherent to all mics of the brand Blue). We think that this warm saturation goes from wide frequency response of Blue Snowflake – 35Hz to 20kHz, while the microphone Samson Go has a flat frequency response from 20Hz to 18kHz which gives it clear sound, not saturated with warmth, as in the case with Blue Snowflake. Which one is better? – incorrect question! Some people prefer “blue” color, other people prefer “green” color. If you want to save 13$ – 20$ and to get clear sound with a little more advanced features – your choice is Samson Go. If you want a unique design, warm and rich sound quality, your choice is a Blue Snowflake.
Our next pair: Blue Snowflake vs Blue Snowball (his older brother). Both microphones are from the same brand, and they are made for slightly different purposes, but we still compare them, as there are a lot of requests on this pair. Well, we’ll start from the microphone Blue Snowball. It was made as a desktop microphone and it is not so compact as the Blue Snowflake, but also does not have the large size and it’s easy to carry. The advantage in housing of Blue Snowflake microphone is that you can to put this mic on the table and hang it on the monitor of your PC, while this feature cannot be done with Blue Snowball. But there is a tripod stand for convenient placement on the table which comes in package bundle with Blue Snowball, so if you want to hang your Snowball in the air – scissor boom arm will help you in this case (which of them is the most durable and cheap – read this article where we spent a lot of time in researching and choosing the best one for you). Design of both microphones is quite unique as it is accepted in the product lines of the brand Blue (design theme belongs to the natural seasons, in our case it’s “Winter”). Both of them are excellent in appearance (Blue Snowball is available in six colors: White Bright Orange, Aluminum, Electric Blue, Black, Green). Now let’s turn to price of this mics: price range on Blue Snowball is 50-70$ depending on color, so its more expensive than Blue Snowflake. According to the technical specifications of the microphones, there aren’t so much differences: they have the same bit depth / sample rate 16-bit / 44kHz, frequency response of Blue Snowflake is 35Hz to 20kHz, frequency response of Blue Snowball is 40Hz – 18kHz and the main feature of the microphone Blue Snowball is that you can choose one of three polar patterns (Cardioid, Omnidirectional or Cardioid with -10dB pad). These two mics have a decent sound quality and unique sound saturation which, inherent only to brand “Blue Microphones”. It is worth noting that the Blue Snowball microphone more modern as it appeared several years later after the release of Blue Snowflake. Therefore, in this comparison we give our preference to Blue Snowball mic.
And at the end of our comparison, let’s compare Blue Snowflake vs Samson Meteor USB desktop microphone, which has a huge popularity all over the world. The first thing that attracts us – it is certainly a design of Samson Meteor – it is very elegant and available in three color schemes: Chrome, Brushed Nickel, Titanium Black. The difference in price between them is in 15 dollars (Samson Meteor is more expensive). Both microphones are compact, but the microphone from Samson couldn’t be hanged up on the monitor as a microphone from the Blue brand. Technical characteristics of the microphones are not very different, and in fact we do not see any sense to describe them in this pair, since they have almost the same sound (differences in the technical specifications, you can see in the table below), except that the distinguishing feature of the microphone Samson Meteor is that it can be connected to any iOS device with an USB Camera Adapter, and the microphone has a 3.5mm headphone jack for direct sound monitoring. We must to mention, that many people who crossed the line in the amateur sound recording don’t like the sound of the Samson Meteor since it is not comparable with some expensive studio microphones. But Meteor mic still remains a “people’s favorite”. On Amazon you can see 730+ positive reviews (it’s really huge amount) about this microphone that cannot but rejoice. Unfortunately, in this pair we can’t identify the best mic, so the choice is yours – compact Blue Snowflake or elegant Samson Meteor.
Three Reasons to Buy
- Price / Quality. This microphone is better than your laptop ones, and for couple of dollars it will cope all your professional ideas.
- Designed especially for speech recording, podcasts, skype conferences, in game voice chat. You can also record audio books and used in any situation that is associated with speech recording, without worrying about sound quality as it’ll be perfect.
- Easy to transport and to use. You can take it with you anywhere, as it takes up very little space in your bag. Then just “Plug and Play”.
Now there’s a question: why is it professional? One should admit that it’s simply brilliant for voice communication over the Internet. The microphone is small so it’s quite possible to add it into your laptop kit to use it for business communication, where the quality has a great importance. If you want the person on the other end of the wire not to repeat and understand everything you say, this microphone will suit you perfectly.
To record some sort of voice program is possible too: the quality of the output material is very decent. Anyway, sometimes you have listen to Net podcasts of much lower quality, recorded with phone or laptop microphones, and I’m talking about serious journalists, hardened podcasters, and we all understand that they have lost their mind because they are popular, and they are too lazy even to connect a microphone to a laptop. But such an ugly approach to business can be interpreted as disrespect to listener.
In general, Blue Snowflake is the microphone, which is described on its box. It has two main advantages: it gives decent sound and it’s compact. Is it worth its money? Our editorial board says: – “Yes”. As for the rest – listen to the test recordings!
Global Blue Snowflake Rating
Sound Recording Quality - 7.7/10
Overall Build & Features - 7.9/10
Design - 8.3/10